Dakota Download Governor Burgum's Weekly Update - July 28, 2019

Gov. Burgum speaks at a press conference on the Emerging Digital Academy with Commerce Commissioner Michelle Kommer and Prime Digital co-founders Mike Derheim and Mark Hurlburt. Background photo: members of the Workforce Development Council joined Burgum for the announcement.

Governor announces federal funding for technology upskilling school with ties to Grand Farm initiative

Gov. Doug Burgum, in partnership with the North Dakota Department of Commerce and the North Dakota Workforce Development Council, announced federal funding totaling $200,000 to support the launch of Emerging Digital Academy, an accelerated learning platform that will teach North Dakotans new skills to help them thrive in an economy undergoing rapid technological change.

Emerging Digital Academy is designed to equip graduates with technical skills relevant in the current market, while also teaching behavioral and critical thinking skills that will aid them in successfully being part of a software development team. It will be open to workers statewide as part of the Grand Farm initiative, which aims to create a fully autonomous farm that will capitalize on the region’s potential in the agriculture and technology industries.

“This investment will support the workforce pillar of the Grand Farm initiative, strengthen our state’s economy and help create a 21st century workforce,” Burgum said. “As traditional jobs are increasingly displaced by autonomous technology and artificial intelligence, it’s essential that we stay ahead of the curve by offering opportunities for workers to quickly learn new skills and fill important roles in the tech-driven economy. This is a key step in our efforts to build livable communities, address unmet community needs and enhance local economic development efforts.”

The funds are being provided through the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). This workforce development program provides a range of employment, education, training and related services and supports to help all jobseekers secure good jobs while providing businesses with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy.

“Innovative agriculture offers some of the greatest growth opportunities for North Dakota, and this project is a prime example of the leadership we are capable of in our state,” Commerce Commissioner and coordinator of the Workforce Development Council Michelle Kommer said. “This investment connects directly to several of the needs identified by the Workforce Development Council in its report of recommendations submitted to Governor Burgum in late 2018, and will serve as a model of innovation in our approach to education.”

Emerging Digital Academy will be a program of Fargo-based Emerging Prairie and will license its curriculum from Prime Digital Academy, a full-time immersion tech learning program based in the Twin Cities. Co-founded by Mark Hurlburt and Minot native Mike Derheim, Prime Digital Academy trains web developers and user experience designers in 18-20 weeks, with more than 850 graduates working at more than 400 companies in Minnesota. Hurlburt joined Burgum in making the announcement on stage Thursday at TEDxFargo.

Classes at Emerging Digital Academy are tentatively set to begin in April, with the goal of graduating 40 students within the first year. For additional information on Grand Farm visit this link.

Gov. Burgum and First Lady Kathryn Burgum visit with U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad. Photos courtesy of the National Governors Association.

Burgum joins more than 20 governors at National Governors Association meeting

Gov. Burgum and First Lady Kathryn Burgum participated in the National Governors Association meeting this week in Salt Lake City, Utah, where more than 20 of the nation's governors met to discuss shared issues such as rural economic development, roadway safety, infrastructure improvements and diplomatic relations.

The governors were joined by business leaders, federal government partners and experts who offered insights on the opportunities faced by states. Helen Witty, national president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, presented her organization's efforts to call attention to preventable roadway fatalities. According to the Department of Transportation, alcohol is a factor in 40% to 50% of fatal crashes in North Dakota annually. Gov. Burgum launched Vision Zero in 2018 to work toward eliminating preventable roadway deaths in North Dakota.

Burgum also met with U.S. Ambassador to China and former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad. He urged Branstad to continue advocating for better market access for North Dakota's farmers and stronger intellectual property laws to protect American technology.

Founded in 1908, the National Governors Association is a nonpartisan group representing the governors of the 55 states, territories and commonwealths.

Gov. Burgum greets Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Fargo Police Chief David Todd spoke to the group to share how substance use in the metro area affects his department's resources.

Governor, first lady host events with recovery advocate William Moyers

The governor and first lady hosted an addiction and recovery forum with William Moyers and local addiction recovery service providers on Wednesday in Fargo.

Moyers is the vice president of public relations and community affairs for the Minnesota-based Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and a New York Times best-selling author of “Broken: My Story of Addiction and Redemption.”

“We are so fortunate to have an advocate like William sharing his knowledge and insight to create a supportive culture around recovery,” First Lady Burgum said. “The years of lived experience and expertise that William brings to the table will undoubtedly spark ideas for how we can collaborate to reinvent recovery and eliminate the stigma of the disease of addiction.”

The event was hosted by the Fargo Moorhead Area Foundation and Recovery Reinvented. Moyers and the first lady had a conversation on how local community providers, people with lived experience and advocates can effectively eliminate stigma, engage and educate their community and local leadership, and mobilize constituents to create cultures of support for recovery.

Nancy Schafer (center), former first lady of North Dakota and board chair of Fargo-based organization Jail Chaplains, was among those who participated in the event.
Gov. Burgum interviews Dave St. Peter, president of the Minnesota Twins.

Governor moderates chat with Minnesota Twins President Dave St. Peter at TEDxFargo

Gov. Burgum moderated a fireside chat with Dave St. Peter, president of the Minnesota Twins, at TEDxFargo on Thursday. They discussed St. Peter's 28-year history with the Twins organization and how his work has built a strong community around the team while delivering excellent customer service to their fanbase.

St. Peter is a Bismarck native and graduate of the University of North Dakota. He has served in the role of president since 2002 and also assumed the role of CEO in 2016. During his tenure, he oversaw the construction of Target Field and a new single-season attendance record for the franchise by attracting more than 3.2 million fans.

Building a successful franchise that can adapt to a changing fanbase is similar to building any strong community, St. Peter said. Finding new ways to engage with baseball fans and local stakeholders is essential to the long-term success of the Twins.

First Lady Burgum also took the TEDxFargo stage to introduce William Moyers for his talk.

'Work Worth Doing' offers preview of Summit on Innovative Education

In anticipation of the Governor's Summit on Innovative Education on Aug. 14-15 in Jamestown, Gov. Burgum sat down with State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler and Pam Sagness, director of the Behavioral Health Division in the Department of Human Services.

They outlined what to expect from the conference and offered insight into the decision to add a second day to the agenda focused on behavioral health in an educational setting. Listen below to find out why Sagness thinks "the next 12 months are going to be the most important opportunities we have to transform" the children's behavioral health system.

Catcher Judd Johnsrud stretches to catch the pitch thrown by Lt. Gov. Sanford, who joked that it was "a duster, but I didn't hit the dirt!"

Lt. Gov. Sanford throws out first pitch at Babe Ruth Baseball State Tournament in Watford City

Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford threw out the first pitch at the Babe Ruth Baseball State Tournament in Watford City on Friday, where eight teams of 13- to 15-year-old players were competing for a spot in the championship game on Monday, July 29.

Best of luck to all the players facing off in tournaments across the state!

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